Donald Trump attacked LGTBQ+ people during his Conservative Political Action Conference speech on Saturday, saying “crazy leftists” are encouraging drag shows in schools and unfair competition between female and transgender athletes.
“School prayer is banned, but drag shows are allowed to permeate the whole place,” Mr Trump complained.
“You can’t teach the Bible, but you can teach kids that America is bad and that men can get pregnant,” he continued.
The president also briefly welcomed Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who criticized University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who is trans, for competing in the women’s division.
“We will keep men out of women’s sports,” Mr. Trump said in his speech, confusing trans athletes like Ms. Thomas.
On stage, Ms Gaines claimed that it “takes brains, common sense and fifth-grade biological level understanding to realize that this is grossly unfair”.
The swimmer previously said she felt “extreme discomfort” about competing and sharing facilities with Ms Thomas, likening it to sexual assault in an interview with The Christian Post in July.
Mr. Trump has embedded his attacks on LGTBQ+ people into a broader critique of what he sees as a left-wing takeover of education policy that also includes critical race theory, an academic concept which is almost never taught in public schools below university level.
Nonetheless, Mr Trump said, “If the federal bureaucrats are going to push this radicalism, we should abolish the Department of Education,” prompting a huge round of applause.
Elsewhere, Mr. Trump’s remarks on CPAC from Dallas have torn Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
“I’m going to come down and campaign against him as hard as I can,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Manchin, drawing one of his biggest applause of the night.
The former president also claimed that Mr Manchin, who is not eligible for re-election until 2025, had promised not to vote against him during the impeachment process.
“I would never vote against you, you are a great president,” Mr. Trump told the senator.
Mr. Manchin voted against Mr. Trump in both of his impeachments.
The Independent contacted Mr. Manchin for comment.
Mr Trump also lashed out at another moderate who had been seen as a potential obstacle to the Democratic social spending package, Kyrsten Sinema. In his speech, he hinted that he might also attack him in his home country.
“What Happened to Manchin and Sinema?” Mr. Trump said. “What happened? We’re trying to figure out what happened. Where is this new philosophy coming from all of a sudden?
The Independent contacted the Arizona senator for comment.
The Independent Gt